US recognises Syrian Opposition Council..Damascus airport battles..Ecuador may consider Assad asylum
US President Barack Obama has declared Syria’s main opposition group the sole “legitimate representative” of its country’s people, deeming the move “a big step” in the international diplomatic efforts to end Syrian President Bashar Assad’s embattled regime.
Mr Obama said the newly formed Syrian Opposition Council “is now inclusive enough” to be granted the elevated status, which paves the way for the greater US support for the organisation.
“Obviously, with that recognition comes responsibilities,” Mr Obama said in an interview with ABC News. “To make sure that they organise themselves effectively, that they are representative of all the parties, that they commit themselves to a political transition that respects women’s rights and minority rights.”
Recognition of the council as the sole representative of Syria’s diverse population brings the US in line with Britain, France and several of America’s Arab allies, which took the same step shortly after the body was created at a meeting of opposition representatives in Qatar last month.
Mr Obama’s announcement follows his administration’s blacklisting of a militant Syrian rebel group with links to al-Qa’ida. That step is aimed at blunting the influence of extremists amid fears that the regime may use or lose control of its stockpile of chemical weapons.
Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said that the Syrian government seems to have slowed preparations for the possible use of chemical weapons against rebel forces. Last week, US officials said there was evidence that Syrian forces had begun preparing sarin, a nerve agent, for possible use in bombs.
“At this point the intelligence has really kind of levelled off,” Mr Panetta told reporters travelling with him to Kuwait, where he will visit US troops at the start of a four-day trip. “We haven’t seen anything new indicating any aggressive steps to move forward in that way.”
Rebel groups’ success in disrupting airport activity is a serious blow to the morale of the regime, which is being forced to divert weapons supply planes sent by Iran to military airfields.
The battles that continue to rage around Damascus International Airport appear to indicate that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s position is becoming more tenuous.
After granting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange political asylum, Ecuador may consider doing the same for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad and his inner circle, if he asks for it.
Speaking to Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said, “Any person who requests asylum in Ecuador, we will consider as a human being whose basic rights we must respect.”
“We would analyze such a request with all responsibility,” he added.
President Correa confirmed that Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad had visited Quito a few weeks ago, but denied reports from Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that they had discussed the possibility of granting political asylum to Assad, his family and his associates.
“These talks did not take place,” Correa said, noting that al-Miqdad expressed gratitude to Ecuador over its “objective position.”
Haaretz reported that al-Miqdad had held meetings in Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador over the past week, bringing with him classified personal letters from Assad to local leaders.
Ecuador already made world headlines by granting political asylum to famous whistleblower Julian Assange in August. However the WikiLeaks founder remains confined inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London as British authorities say that if he leaves, he will be arrested and extradited to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in connection with a sexual assault case.
The Syrian president, who has ruled the country since 2000, is facing a civil war with local and foreign opposition forces pushing for him to relinquish power.
“The US Department of State has declared the Syrian rebel group al-Nusra Front a terrorist organization, despite the group’s success in effectively fighting the Assad regime and protecting rebel strongholds.”
the noose is tightening..USA joins the other shills in recognizing the same terrorists we were warned about for the last 11 years..in fact including a group who has just been declared a terrorist organisation..and is now also recognized as a legitimate part of the new regime..and australia falls into line like a good little USA puppet..will assad go to ecuador..or will he stay and fight on?